Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
In a one-two series of Climategate aftershocks that assuredly will further rattle the global warming community, a report has been issued by U.S. researchers accusing government agencies of cherry-picking temperature readings used to assess global temperatures, and a series of embarrassing e-mails were released revealing what happened when a blogger dared to point out a mistake by NASA climate scientists.
The report from D’Aleo, a retired climatologist who has been skeptical of global warming, contends climate data has been corrupted and skewed by “urbanization and other local factors such as land-use-land-cover changes and improper siting.”
He blamed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which he described as “seriously complicit in data manipulation and fraud.”
The East Anglia e-mail leak focused on the work at the Climate Research Unit there, but the director there has confirmed “almost all the data” in the archive “is exactly the same as in the Global Historical Climatology Network archive used by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center,” D’Aleo said.
But he noted that an analysis by San Jose computer programmer E.M. Smith of the data “found they systematically eliminated 75 percent of the world’s stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations.”
“The thermometers in a sense marched towards the tropics, the sea and to airport tarmacs,” he said.
For example, the report said the number of reporting stations in Canada dropped from 600 to 35 with the percentage of stations at lower elevations tripling while the numbers of those at higher elevations plummeted.
Further, a vast majority of the climate stations reporting in the U.S. were either poorly or very poorly sited, taking temperature readings from paved driveways, in a waste treatment facility, on rooftops or near the exhaust from idling jet engines, rather than in open areas.
Stations in such locations as the Andes and Bolivia have virtually vanished, meaning that temperatures for those areas now are “determined by interpolation from stations hundreds of miles away on the coast or in the Amazon.”
“Think of it this way,” D’Aleo told the television station, “if Minneapolis and other northern cities suddenly disappeared but Kansas City and St. Louis were still available, would you think an average of Kansas City and St. Louis would provide an accurate replacement for Minneapolis and expect to use that to determine how Minneapolis’ temperature has changed with any hope of accuracy?”
D’Aleo said that the coolest stations in a particular reporting period sometimes disappeared in the next.
“This would indicate a deliberate attempt to create a warm bias on the part of NOAA because in calculating the average temperatures in this way it would ensure that the global average temperature for each month and year would now show a positive temperature anomaly,” the report said.
Such anomalies, it added, make climate reports based on those figures simply unreliable.
“You can trust in the data that shows there has been warming from 1979 to 1998, just as there was warming the around 1920 to 1940. But there has been cooling from 1940 to the late 1970s and since 2001. It is the long term trend on which this cyclical pattern is superimposed that is exaggerated,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog Judicial Watch has released several hundred pages of e-mails from U.S. government scientists reacting – sometimes with disdain and arrogance – when an independent investigator pointed out an error in their global warming statistics.
When the mistake ultimately was corrected, the tables reflected slightly lower temperatures for years following 2000, and the reshuffled rankings revealed that several years from the 1930s were, in fact, warmer than during the last decade.
That, of course, undercut arguments that the life of modern man is generating emissions that would, if left unchecked, eventually threaten life on earth because of melting ice caps, rising seas and climates too hot to support food production.
The issue was that temperature readings apparently weren’t handled in a consistent fashion, leaving them open for challenge. Sometimes “raw” data was used, while other times it was adjusted for “time of observation.”
The mistake noted by McIntyre prompted the government agency to “re-process” data to eliminate an “artificial step” in the charts.
“Obviously, combining the uncorrected [data] with the [corrected] records for earlier years caused jumps in the records at those stations,” a government e-mail responded. “The net effect averaged over the U.S. was an error of about 0.15C or less in the post-2000 years.”
However, 0.15 degrees Centigrade is one-third of a degree Fahrenheit, which could be considered a significant change in an overall climate average.
The e-mails show the impact was that while 1998 previously had a deviation of 1.24 degrees Centigrade, that should have been 1.23 – bringing it below 1934. The lists for the highest deviations, the e-mails show, had listed 1998, 1934, 2006, 1921, 1931, 1999, 1953, 2001, 1990 and 1938.
The new list was changed to: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939.
Instead of simply correcting the errors, however, government scientist Jim Hansen responded by labeling McIntyre a “pest,” and suggested that those who disagree with global warming “should be ready to crawl under a rock by now.”
“This e-mail traffic ought to be embarrassing for NASA,” said Tom Fitton, chief of Judicial Watch, which obtained the documents under a Freedom of Information Act request. “Given the recent Climategate scandal, NASA has an obligation to be completely transparent with its handling of temperature data.”
“Instead of insulting those who point out their mistakes, NASA scientists should engage the public in an open, professional and honest matter,” he said.
Judicial Watch noted that a Bloomberg reporter had e-mailed to Hansen, “The U.S. figures showed 1998 as the warmest year. Nevertheless, NASA has indeed newly ranked 1934 as the warmest year…”
Hansen responded, “We have not changed ranking of warmest year in the U.S. As you will see in our 2001 paper we found 1934 slightly warmer, by an insignificant hair over 1998. We still find that result. The flaw affected temperatures only after 2000, not 1998 and 1934.”
To which NASA scientist Makiko Sato told Hansen, “I am sure I had 1998 warmer at least once on my own temperature web page…”
Fitton told WND the e-mails reveal at “unflattering portrait of NASA scientists who, rather than deal forthrightly with their error, attacked those who called them on it.”
He said he would leave to scientific experts the exact analysis of the impact of the flaw. But he said the dispute – and the government’s response – “calls into question other data that is being presented by NASA [and others] in the global warming community.”
“One has to wonder whether or not it would have been caught but for a diligent researcher,” he said. “These are not everyday scientists in the private sector who can do whatever they want to do. These are government scientists trashing citizens and bloggers.”
He said the e-mails make it appear the government didn’t even want to engage in a discussion over the mistake – but for political, not scientific reasons.
One of the newly revealed e-mails documents a government scientist writing about those who were questioning the government’s mistake: “This seems to be a tempest inside somebody’s teapot dome… It is unclear why anyone would try to make something out of this, perhaps a light not on upstairs? Or perhaps this is coming from one of the old contrarians? They can’t seem to get over the fact that the real world has proven them to be full of malarkey! You would think that they would be ready to crawl under a rock by now!”
McIntyre’s website comment on the e-mail revelation today was that, “If anyone is wondering whether e-mails by U.S. government employees are ‘private’ and ‘personal’ – an assertion sometimes made in respect to emails at CRU, an institution subject to UK FOI – the answer in respect to NASA GISS appears to be no.”
The previous e-mails from East Anglia, posted online after a hacker found them, said, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”
Suggestions to suppress information also were documented at East Anglia, “Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re (Assessment Report 4)? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.”
They also suggest how “warmists,” as critics label those who believe in global warming, conspired to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer-review process.
Myron Ebell, of the GlobalWarming.org website where “cooler heads prevail,” had described the East Anglia e-mails as “shocking.”
“It’s kind of interesting to learn that petty politics seems to be more prevalent in the scientific community than in the political community,” he said.
The documents, he said, “raise a huge number of questions about the integrity of a lot of people in the alarmist community.
“What I’ve seen there is a very strong effort to manage the issue by scientists and not as a scientific issue. It’s very improper,” he said. “One of the criticisms is that we need scientists to be scientists, and policy can be handled in public debate.”
There also is an effort called the Petition Project which was launched some 10 years ago when the first few thousand signatures were gathered. The effort, assembled by Art Robinson, a research professor of chemistry and cofounder of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in 1973, now lists tens of thousands of qualified scientists who endorse this:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
The comment came from Colorado State University’s William Gray, whose annual hurricane forecasts are the standard for weather prognostications. His work pioneered the science of forecasting hurricanes, and he has served as weather forecaster for the U.S. Air Force. He is emeritus professor of atmospheric science at CSU and heads the school’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences Tropical Meteorology Project.
He had forecast that U.S. researchers eventually would be caught by their own e-mails, too.
“This conspiracy would become much more manifest if all the e-mails of the publicly funded climate-research groups of the U.S. and of foreign governments were ever made public,” he said at the time.